Searching for metal roofing and dumbfounded by the range of manufacturers and types available? Before you decided to ask Google for “metal roofing materials near me,” you might want to do a bit more research; because just like SUVs, every manufacturer has several different types and styles that have pros and cons. Other factors should also go into your choice of metal roofing. That’s why we are going to introduce the many types of metal roofing that is currently on the market and also discuss the strengths and weakness of each.
The Many Types of Metal Roofing Materials
Aluminum is an excellent choice for most residences throughout the United States. Houses that benefit most from an aluminum roof are those in coastal regions, because aluminum will never rust and is resistant to salt corrosion.
This style of roofing is lightweight, corrosion resistant, and comes in a number profiles, such as standing seam, shingle, tile, slate, and shake. Most aluminum roofing comes painted in a rainbow of colors. The downside is that the paint coating will lose the natural patina over time and may not remain as appealing over the years as other options.
The downside to aluminum roofing is the cost. The trade-off for long-lasting protection against corrosion is that aluminum can be expensive, with the price hovering between those of copper and steel roofing. Because of this, aluminum is cut thinner than steel; and while aluminum has a higher weight ratio than steel, this can result in panels being too thin for environments that see high winds from hurricanes, hail, and similar stressors.
- Pros – Lightweight, corrosion-resistant, energy-efficient, made of 95% post-consumer recycled material
- Cons – Expensive, low resistance to high winds and hail
- Thickness – 0.019” for shakes, shingles, and tiles. Minimum 0.032” for standing seam
- Weight – starts at 45 lbs per square foot
Compared to other metal roofing, steel will be the last expensive and is priced lower than aluminum, zinc, and copper. Over the years, steel roofing has improved exponentially. Paint systems have been developed to mimic that natural patina of copper and zinc, and steel options often come with extensive warranties. If you are considering a restoration or renovation, steel is a budget-friendly option that looks fantastic and is highly recyclable. Since steel is the hardest metal available, it is also effective in every type of climate and region. Steel is common in mountainous areas that receive high volumes of snow, as well.
The two main types include:
- Galvanized steel – created from a base of carbon/iron steel and a metallic zinc coating. This offers an enhanced level of protection, thanks to zinc’s ability to self-protect and heal over time. The lifespan of galvanized steel roofing is thus dependent on the quality of the zinc that is applied. G-90 is the common level of thickness for zinc, meaning that 0.90 oz of zinc per square foot are used. Lesser grades include G-30 and G-60, which are unsuitable for residential applications. Keep in mind that galvanized steel is not an option for coastal homeowners. Salt air is highly corrosive and will shorten the lifespan of a galvanized steel roof.
- Galvalume steel – create from a carbon/iron steel base and coated with both aluminum and zinc. When aluminum and zinc are combined the attributes are aluminum are elevated. For example, because aluminum is resistant to corrosion, galvalume steel is also highly corrosion-resistant and durable. However, unlike galvanized steel which can self-heal from scratches, galvalume steel loses its self-protection. Galvalume steel is also vulnerable to “tension bend staining,” a natural occurrence that creates microscopic cracks when the galvanized zinc coatings are spread too thin. This makes galvalume best for commercial applications, where the owner will most likely want a shiny yet simple looking roof.
Although not a familiar sight in the roofing materials market, zinc has started making headway as an excellent choice for eco-friendly roofing. Zinc is 100% recyclable and also has a lower melting point than other metals. This means that zinc roofing requires only 25% of the energy that other metal roofing materials required for fabrication. Due to the malleable qualities of zinc, it is popular for commercial applications or for residential accents.
The main downside to zinc would be the chalking effect that happens as the metal ages. If left unpainted, zinc will change to blue-gray. Furthermore, zinc is softer than other metals and will be unable to withstand high gusts of wind, hail, or flying debris, much like aluminum.
- Pros – Extremely durable (will last for over 100 years), green choice (100% recyclable)
- Cons – Chalking, expensive cost, difficult to install
- Thickness – Ranges between 0.008” (34 gauge) and 0.027” (22 gauge)
- Weight – 1.6 lb m/ft2
For those who want a stunning exterior, nothing but copper will suit. Because of the appeal of copper, the price tag causes jaws to drop. For this reason, copper is rarely used to cover an entire roof of a building. Rather, copper is used for accents, like sections over bay windows, dormers, on historical buildings, steeples, cupolas, and similar. Copper can also be used as a flashing material for other metal roof types, but it shouldn’t be paired with aluminum and steel. When copper has direct contact with a dissimilar metal, the galvanic action accelerations deterioration.
In a span of 8-15 years, copper transforms with a blue-green patina. This patina becomes a natural barrier that enhances the durability of copper. Depending on the buyer’s tastes, copper shingles and other roofing styles can be purchased pre-patinated or treated to slow down patination.
- Pros – High curbside appeal, extreme durability (will last over 100 years when treated correctly), easy to solder and install
- Cons – Runoff streaks and will stain other materials, natural patination takes time, expensive cost
- Thickness – Preformed shingles run from 0.016” to 0.022”. Vertical seam ranges from 0.022” to 0.027”
- Weight – 100-150 lbs per square
Now that you have a basic knowledge of metal roofing materials and how they can be used, you can get the right answer to your search for “metal roofing materials near me.” The important points to remember about these types of metal roofing materials is that they vary in durability, price range, and curbside appeal. Depending on your budget, location, and climate, certain metals will serve your residence better than others. The final deciding factor is the professional roofing contractor that you contact. Always hire an experienced, reputable contractor who has a broad selection of metal roofing available.
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